‘Aint Nothin’ Wrong with a Little Bump ‘n Grind

They are often called unauthorized or unofficial by those who do not know better.

Unmarked, but not nameless.

They sit etched in memory of running partners past: Lovely Rita (who always cheated by running on four legs instead of two.) They veer off the main road, warning of oncoming terrain:  Bob and Weave (or Bump and Grind as I always call it thanks to a song I danced to in middle school).  They figure-eight asking the same questions over and over: What Do You Know and Who Do You Love.  They climb steep hills with a sense of history: Y2K. They narrowly pass through the dense forest with a slew of humorous possibilities: Shave and Haircut.  They are more than just trails, more than just single track, they are a whole nother way of running.

To conquer them I must give up length of leg, the opening of stride, the rhythm of feet, the elapsed time of foot to ground contact.  I must give up all the technical obsessions of running . . .  and just run.

The placement of my foot is no longer about how far or how fast.  It is about where and when.  Each moment as important as the one before it.  I choose my steps by what lies ahead of me: the rocks on my right, trees on my left, snake straight ahead.  I lengthen into a leap when a fallen trunk appears, tip toe when the muck of a wintry trail rises towards my ankles, push side to side when the ground suddenly erupts in a slew of tree roots.  The trail guides me one step at a time, drawing me ever closer to my destination.

I never question the trail.  I never look back, wondering how I got there and why.   There is never anguish over the rocks I tripped on, the wrong turn I took, the new detour carved out by someone more ambitious than I.  I don’t curse the trail for where it took me, never wish I had taken an easier way.

I am pretty sure that when God tells us fix our eyes and run; He means run trail.  Life is never a rhythm or an opening of stride.  Life is always a never-ending series of bumps and grinds.

I spend a lot of time looking back in life.  Bemoaning the wrong turns I think I may have taken, licking the wounds of ankles turned on rocks unseen, wishing there had been an easier way, wondering if it was all a useless detour.

God has been teaching me to trust in His omniscience and providence.  To believe that God is in every circumstance, every hardship, every mistake.  He lets nothing in my life go to waste, but uses all thing to direct my steps along the path.  A bad day becomes a way to slow me down into a tip toe of reflection, a small blessing a way to make my feet dance again pushing side to side in joy, tragedy a way to lengthen my feet into a leap of faith.  I am learning to trust that there is purpose in everything, even when I can’t see it.

A man plans his way, but God directs His steps.

God does not want my Christianity to be a monotonous rhythm, a set time of contact, an obsession with the technicalities.  He wants my Christianity to just be about the living . . . I want to look back less, live more every day with my feet submitted to His direction, convinced that every moment is as important as the one before it.

I want to trust that, though His ways are not always clearly marked, they are never nameless.